The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Groped

    9
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Burns

    4
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Beaten

    3
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Giardia

    8
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Malaria

    5
  • Falls

    12
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1